SECOND PLENARY SESSION OF THE NIGERIA-GERMANY BI-NATIONAL COMMISSION (BNC)
The Second Plenary Session of the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission (BNC) took place on 2nd November, 2012 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Session was Co-chaired by the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, MFR and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ambassador Guido Westerwelle.
The German delegation included officials from the Embassy of Germany, Abuja, while the Nigerian delegation included Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The Session focused on the key areas of Political Consultations, Economy, Power and Energy, Education and Culture. It further identified the main areas of bilateral co-operation such as the promotion of good governance, democratic development and security; Micro-economic finance assistance and agricultural cooperation; energy partnership; joint tourism development and migration; education and cultural exchanges.
At the end of deliberations, the two delegations agreed that effective political, economic, security and cultural cooperation between them will contribute to building a peaceful and prosperous relationship between the two countries. They reaffirmed their commitment to the underlying principles of the BNC and pledged to use the platform as the basis for a constructive strategic partnership between Germany and Nigeria.
While acknowledging that significant progress was made by Nigeria in the 2011 elections, both countries committed to continue working together with the aim of deepening democracy and promoting good governance. They also recognized the nexus between security and development and reaffirmed their commitment to effectively cooperate, particularly in enhancing the operational capabilities of Nigeria's security services, to enable them respond effectively to internal and regional security challenges.
The two delegations agreed to work together in ensuring that the security situation in Mali is stabilized in the shortest possible time. The German side expressed willingness to extend support to the efforts of ECOWAS, AU and UN in this regard.
On the economic front, the Ministers agreed that significant progress have been made, particularly in the areas of trade and investment between the two countries. They however noted that ample opportunities exist for improvement in these areas. They therefore reiterated their commitment to jointly explore possible ways forward in the promotion of bilateral trade and the reduction, and eventual elimination of trade barriers, to facilitate increased economic and commercial activities between the two countries. They also agreed on the need to support Nigeria towards achieving the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including particularly through assistance in tackling polio and other prevalent infectious diseases.
The two countries further acknowledged the importance of power and energy to national development, job creation and the eradication of poverty. The German side renewed its commitment to ensure the early successful implementation of the following projects earlier agreed upon in the energy sector:
i. Gombe clean coal power station (450 mega watts);
ii. Yola solar project (20 mega watts);
iii. Solar project of 10 mega watts each for the Universities of Ibadan, Sokoto, Yola and Bayelsa; and
iv. The re-aforestation programme of renewable energy sources for Ogun and Cross Rivers States.
Both sides further reaffirmed their commitment to partner and facilitate foreign direct investment in the energy sector in order to ensure the realization of Nigeria's goals in this key sector of its economy.
Of equal importance to both countries were the issues of cultural cooperation and exchanges, joint tourism development, travels, entry, air links and migration, etc. They agreed that migration was an important platform of the partnership which should deliver benefits to the citizens of both countries for mutual economic development, job creation and enhanced trade and investment. They further agreed on the importance of reaching a mutually beneficial solution that addresses the abuse of bilateral migration relationship.
Finally, both Governments agreed to follow up on their commitments and to seek further collaboration to address challenges identified. It was also agreed that the next Session of the BNC will take place in the first half of 2013 in Germany at a mutually agreed date.
2nd November 2012